Republic of Estonia

Eesti Vabariik

former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

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Bob Starkgraf


Country name:
conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
Government type:
parliamentary republic
Administrative divisions:
15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond): Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
note: counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses
regained on 20 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date of independence from Soviet Russia, 20 August 1991 was the date of reindependence from the Soviet Union
adopted 28 June 1992
Legal system:
based on civil law system; no judicial review of legislative acts
18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Arnold RUUTEL (since 8 October 2001)
head of government: Prime Minister Siim KALLAS (since 28 January 2002)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
election results: Arnold RUUTEL elected president on 21 September 2001 by a 367-member electoral assembly that convened following Parliament's failure in August to elect then-President MERI's successor; on the second ballot of voting, RUUTEL received 188 votes to Parliament Speaker Toomas SAVI's 155; the remaining 24 ballots were either left blank or invalid
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term; if he or she does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes; election last held 21 September 2001 (next to be held in the fall of 2006); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - Center Party 25.4%, Res Publica 24.6%, Reform Party 17.7%, Estonian People's Union 13%, Pro Patria Union (Fatherland League) 7.3% People's Party Moodukad 7%; seats by party - Center Party 28, Res Publica 28, Reform Party 19, Estonian People's Union 13, Pro Patria Union 7, People's Party Moodukad 6
elections: last held 2 March 2003 (next to be held NA March 2007)
Judicial branch:
National Court (chairman appointed by Parliament for life)
Political parties and leaders:
Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR, chairman]; Estonian People's Union (Rahsaliit) [Villu REILJAN]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Siim KALLAS]; Estonian United Russian People's Party or EUVRP; Moderates (Moodukad) [Ivari PADAR]; Pro Patria Union (Isamaaliit League) [Tunne KELAM, chairman]; Res Publica [Juhan Parts]; Russian Baltic Party [Sergei IVANOV]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
BIS, CBSS, CCC, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECE, EU (applicant), FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM (observer), ISO (correspondent), ITU, OPCW, OSCE, PFP, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNMIBH, UNMIK, UNTSO, UPU, WEU (associate partner), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Sven JURGENSON
chancery: 1730 M Street NW, Suite 503, Washington, DC 20036
consulate(s) general: New York
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph M. DeTHOMAS
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8134
Flag description:
pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white


Economy - overview:
Estonia, as a new member of the World Trade Organization, is steadily moving toward a modern market economy with increasing ties to the West, including the pegging of its currency to the euro. A major goal is accession to the EU, possibly by 2004. The state of the economy is greatly influenced by developments in Finland, Sweden, and Germany, three major trading partners. The trade deficit is a negative factor, whereas the internal government surplus is a plus.
purchasing power parity - $15.2 billion (2002 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
4.4% (2002 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $10,900 (2002 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 29%
services: 66% (2001)
Population below poverty line:
NA% (2000)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 30% (1998)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
37 (1999)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.7% (2002)
Labor force:
608,600 (2001 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
industry 20%, agriculture 11%, services 69% (1999 est.)
Unemployment rate:
12.4% (2001)
revenues: $1.89 billion
expenditures: $1.89 billion, including capital expenditures of $NA (2002 est.)
engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textile; services; transit, information technology, telecommunications
Industrial production growth rate:
5% (2000 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.056 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
5.362 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
1.2 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
$3.4 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33%, wood and paper 15%, textiles 14%, food products 8%, furniture 7%, metals, chemical products (2001)
Exports - partners:
Finland 33.8%, Sweden 14%, Latvia 6.9%, Germany 6.9%, UK 4.2 (2001)
$4.4 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33.5%, chemical products 11.6%, textiles 10.3%, foodstuffs 9.4%, transportation equipment 8.9% (2001)
Imports - partners:
Finland 18%, Germany 11%, Sweden 9%, China 9%, Russia 8% (2001)
Debt - external:
$3.3 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$108 million (2000)
Estonian kroon (EEK)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
krooni per US dollar - 17.518 (January 2002), 17.538 (2001), 16.969 (2000), 14.678 (1999), 14.075 (1998), 13.882 (1997); note - the kroon is tied to the euro at a fixed rate of 15.65 krooni per euro
Fiscal year:
calendar year